British Intelligence update on Ukraine War as of Jul. 13
As the conflict in Ukraine continues to escalate, British intelligence agencies have provided an update on the situation as of July 13. Recent reports indicate that Russian forces have been utilizing antiquated armored vehicles as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), which have caused significant concerns among the defending forces. This article will explore the details provided by British intelligence regarding the use of VBIEDs by Russian forces, the possible involvement of Chechen units, and the impact of these tactics on the ongoing conflict.
Russian Use of VBIEDs:
British intelligence reports highlight a notable increase in the use of VBIEDs by Russian forces in June 2023. These VBIEDs involve retrofitting outdated armored vehicles with several tonnes of explosives, transforming them into deadly explosive devices. It is believed that the crew responsible for the VBIEDs typically abandon the vehicle after setting it on its destructive course.
Geographical Focus and Chechen Involvement:
The majority of reported Russian VBIED cases have been concentrated around Marinka, near Donetsk city. This surge in VBIED activity coincided with the reinforcement of Chechen units in the area. British intelligence suggests that there is a realistic possibility that Chechen forces are pioneering this tactic, drawing from their historical expertise in improvised explosive device (IED) use. This proficiency can be traced back to the Chechen Wars of the 1990s.
Earlier Instances of VBIEDs:
British intelligence sources also point out that Chechens fighting on the Ukrainian side were previously reported to have employed similar VBIEDs in January 2023. This indicates a transfer of knowledge and tactics between Chechen fighters involved in different theaters of conflict.
Effectiveness and Psychological Impact:
While most of Russia’s VBIEDs are believed to have detonated before reaching their intended targets due to a combination of anti-tank mines and direct fire, the scale of the resulting explosions cannot be understated. These VBIEDs have the potential to cause immense destruction and instill psychological fear among defending forces. The psychological impact of such large explosions can still disrupt the morale and effectiveness of the Ukrainian defense.
Viability and Strategic Implications:
The repeated use of VBIEDs by Russian forces raises questions about the long-term viability of this tactic. While the explosives are potent, the success rate of reaching the intended targets remains questionable due to effective countermeasures employed by Ukrainian forces. However, the strategic implications lie in the psychological impact that these large-scale explosions have on the defending forces. Even if the VBIEDs fail to cause significant physical damage, the psychological toll and potential disruption to the morale of the defending forces cannot be disregarded.
Based on British intelligence reports, the use of VBIEDs by Russian forces in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is a concerning development. The involvement of Chechen units and their historical expertise in IED use indicate a transfer of knowledge between different theaters of conflict. While the effectiveness of VBIEDs in reaching their intended targets may be limited, the psychological impact on defending forces should not be underestimated. The evolving tactics employed by both sides in the conflict underscore the need for continued monitoring and assessment by international observers and intelligence agencies as the situation unfolds.